Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cornell's Lost Ladybug Project

I blogged about this last year, but just wanted to remind readers that Cornell University is still running its Lost Ladybug Project.  The aim of this citizen science project is to track the changing distribution patterns of ladybugs in the United States.  Scientists are especially concerned about the reduced numbers of native ladybugs.  This project makes a great school science class or family activity. 

My children and I have been collecting ladybug data since last year.  Before contributing, we never thought much about ladybugs or looked at them very closely.  Now, no ladybug is just a ladybug.  The occasional rare find is exciting.  The beetles are photographed, location data is collected, and the photos and data are uploaded to the website where you can see other finds from around the country.

Our two unusual finds for this year include the Eye-spotted ladybug (Anatis mali)

and the rarely seen native Two-Spotted Ladybug (Adalia bipunctata) pictured below.  This one landed on my son during recess yesterday.  He quickly drank the rest of his water and used the bottle to bring the ladybug home to be photographed and uploaded to the website.

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